Communion on the Moon

26 12 2011

From Eric Metaxas’ blog.  Go pay him a visit here

Below is an excerpt from a wonderful little interview that Metaxas conducted with Buzz Aldrin.  Be sure to click through and read the whole thing:

“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.  Apart from me you can do nothing.’  I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas.  I agreed reluctantly.   …I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

And of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon — and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.”

Read the rest here





Spurgeon: Comfort for “little faiths”

20 12 2011

By “Little-Faiths”, Spurgeon here means people who are not great in faith and deed.  There are no Moses, or Paul, or Peter, or Augustine, or Luther, or Calvin.  They aren’t even  ”Joe-Schmoe” Christians, but something less than that.  They are people whose faith is full of doubts, whose morality is often feeble.  They are not spiritual giants but spiritual midgets.  Here Spurgeon speaks a word of comfort to folks just like this, and shows that the blessings of Christ are every bit their’s as they are to the spritual giant.  Maybe these words will be a comfort to you.  I know it spoke a word of comfort to me…

Now I want to say one or two things to Little-Faiths this morning. The little children of God who are here mentioned as being bruised reeds or smoking flax are just as safe as the great saints of God. I wish for a moment to expand this thought, and then I will finish with the other head. These saints of God who are called bruised reeds and smoking flax are just as safe as those who are mighty for their Master, and great in strength, for several reasons. First of all, the little saint is just as much God’s elect as the great saint.When God chose his people, he chose them all at once, and altogether; and he elected one just as much as the other. If I choose a certain number of things, one may be less than the rest, but one is as much chosen as the other; and so Mrs. Fearing and Miss Despondency are just as much elected as Great-Heart, or Old Father Honest. Again: the little ones are redeemed equally with the great ones! the feeble saints cost Christ as much suffering as the strong ones; the tiniest child of God could not have been purchased with less than Jesus’ precious blood; and the greatest child of God did not cost him more. Paul did not cost any more than Benjamin—I am sure he did not—for I read in the Bible that “there is no difference.” Besides, when of old they came to pay their redemption-money, every person brought a shekel. The poor shall bring no less, and the rich shall bring no more than just a shekel. The same price was paid for the one as the other. Now then little child of God, take that thought to thy soul. You see some men very prominent in Christ’s cause—and it is very good that they should be—but they did not cost Jesus a farthing more than you did; he paid the same price for you that he paid for them. Recollect again, you are just as much a child of God as the greatest saint. Some of you have five or six children. There is one child of yours, perhaps, who is very tall and handsome, and has, moreover, gifts of mind; and you have another child who is the smallest of the family, perhaps has but little intellect and understanding. But which is the most your child? “The most!” you say; “both alike are my children, certainly, one as much as the other.” And so, dear friends, you may have very little learning, you may be very dark about divine things, you may but “see men as trees walking,” but you are as much the children of God as those who have grown to the stature of men in Christ Jesus. Then remember, poor tried saint, that you are just as much justified as any other child of God. I know that I am completely justified.

His blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress.

I want no other garments, save Jesus’ doings, and his imputed righteousness.

The boldest child of God wants no more; and I who am “less than the least of all saints,” can be content with no less, and I shall have no less. O Ready-to-Halt, thou art as much justified as Paul, Peter, John the Baptist, or the loftiest saint in heaven. There is no difference in that matter. Oh! take courage and rejoice.

Then one thing more. If you were lost, God’s honor would be as much tarnished as if the greatest one were lost. A queer thing I once read in an old book about God’s children and people being a part of Christ and in union with him. The writer says—”A father sitteth in his room, and there cometh in a stranger; the stranger taketh up a child on his knee, and the child hath a sore finger; so he saith, ‘My child, you have a sore finger;’ ‘Yes!’ ‘Well, let me take it off, and give thee a golden one!’ The child looketh at him and saith, ‘I will not go to that man any more, for he talks of taking off my finger; I love my own finger, and I will not have a golden one instead of it.’” So the saint saith, “I am one of the members of Christ, but I am like a sore finger, and he will take me off and put a golden one on.” “No,” said Christ, “no, no; I cannot have any of my members taken away; if the finger be a sore one, I will bind it up; I will strengthen it.” Christ cannot allow a word about cutting his members off. If Christ lose one of his people, he would not be a whole Christ any longer. If the meanest of his children could be cast away, Christ would lack a part of his fullness; yea, Christ would be incomplete without his Church. If one of his children must be lost, it would be better that it should be a great one, than a little one. If a little one were lost, Satan would say, “Ah! you save the great ones, because they had strength and could help themselves; but the little one that has no strength, you could not save him.” You know what Satan would say; but God would shut Satan’s mouth, by proclaiming, “They are all here, Satan, in spite of thy malice, they are all here; every one is safe; now lie down in thy den for ever, and be bound eternally in chains, and smoke in fire!” So shall he suffer eternal torment, but not one child of God ever shall.

One thought more and I shall have done with this head. The salvation of great saints often depends upon the salvation of little ones. Do you understand that? You know that my salvation, or the salvation of any child of God, looking at second causes, very much depends upon the conversion of some one else. Suppose your mother is the means of your conversion, you would, speaking after the manner of men, say, that your conversion depended upon hers; for her being converted, made her the instrument of bringing you in. Suppose such-and-such a minister to be the means of your calling; then your conversion, in some sense, though not absolutely, depends upon his. So it often happens, that the salvation of God’s mightiest servants depends upon the conversion of little ones. There is a poor mother; no one ever knows anything about her; she goes to the house of God, her name is not in the newspapers, or anywhere else; she teaches her child, and brings him up in the fear of God; she prays for that boy; she wrestles with God, and her tears and prayers mingle together. The boy grows up. What is he? A missionary—a William Knibb—a Moffat—a Williams. But you do not hear anything about the mother. Ah! but if the mother had not been saved, where would the boy have been? Let this cheer the little ones; and may you rejoice that he will nourish and cherish you, though you are like bruised reeds and smoking flax.

read the whole thing here





Calvin: Enter boldly into God’s presence by the blood of Christ

20 12 2011

Below is Calvin’s exposition of Hebrews 10.19.  I’ve italicized what I think is one of the most profound thoughts on the passage that I’ve come across

He says first, that we have “boldness to enter into the holiest”.
This privilege was never granted to the fathers under the Law, for the
people were forbidden to enter the visible sanctuary, though the high
priest bore the names of the tribes on his shoulders, and twelve stones
as a memorial of them on his breast. But now the case is very different,
for not only symbolically, but in reality an entrance into heaven is made
open to us through the favour of Christ, for he has made us a royal
priesthood.

He adds, “by the blood of Jesus”, because the door of the sanctuary
was not opened for the periodical entrance of the high priest, except
through the intervention of blood. But he afterwards marks the difference between this blood and that of beasts; for the blood of beasts, as it soon turns to corruption, could not long retain its efficacy; but the blood of Christ, which is subject to no corruption, but flows ever as a pure stream, is sufficient for us even to the end of the world. It is no wonder that beasts slain in sacrifice had no power to quicken, as they were dead; but Christ who arose from the dead to bestow life on us, communicates his own life to us. It is a perpetual consecration of the way, because the blood of Christ is always in a manner distilling before the presence of the Father, in order to irrigate heaven and earth.

Calvin’s Commentary on Hebrews 10. 19





Spurgeon: The Resurrection of the Dead

20 12 2011

Usually after reading a Spurgeon sermon I’m ready to go out and conquer the world.  Not this time.  The sermon is not Spurgeon at his most inspiring, buthe does preach a very earth resurrection that I think is important for us to hear.  Even though we are a rabidly materialistic age, many think of the resurrection of the dead as a purely spiritual event.  Yet the Biblical doctrine and the Christian confession is that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of the body.This has profound implications both for this life and the next, which Spurgeon draws out quite well.  Enjoy.

There are very few Christians who believe the resurrection of the dead. You may be surprised to hear that, but I should not wonder if I discovered that you yourself have doubts on the subject. By the resurrection of the dead is meant something very different from the immortality of the soul: that, every Christian believes, and therein is only on a level with the heathen, who believes it too. The light of nature is sufficient to tell us that the soul is immortal, so that the infidel who doubts it is a worse fool even than a heathen, for he, before Revelation was given, had discovered it—there are some faint glimmerings in men of reason which teach that the soul is something so wonderful that it must endure forever. But the resurrection of the dead is quite another doctrine, dealing not with the soul, but with the body. The doctrine is that this actual body in which I now exist is to live with my soul; that not only is the “vital spark of heavenly flame” to burn in heaven, but the very censer in which the incense of my life doth smoke is holy unto the Lord, and is to be preserved for ever. The spirit, every one confesses, is eternal; but how many there are who deny that the bodies of men will actually start up from their graves at the great day? Many of you believe you will have a body in heaven, but you think it will be an airy fantastic body, instead of believing that it will be a body like to this—flesh and blood (although not the same kind of flesh, for all flesh is not the same flesh), a solid, substantial body, even such as we have here. And there are yet fewer of you who believe that the wicked will have bodies in hell; for it is gaining ground everywhere that there are to be no positive torments for the damned in hell to affect their bodies, but that it is to be metaphorical fire, metaphorical brimstone, metaphorical chains, metaphorical torture. But if ye were Christians as ye profess to be, ye would believe that every mortal man who ever existed shall not only live by the immortality of his soul, but his bodyshall live again, that the very flesh in which he now walks the earth is as eternal as the soul, and shall exist for ever. That is the peculiar doctrine of Christianity. The heathens never guessed or imagined such a thing; and consequently when Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead, “Some mocked,” which proves that they understood him to speak of the resurrection of the body, for they would not have mocked had he only spoken of the immortality of the soul, that having been already proclaimed by Plato and Socrates, and received with reverence.

We are now about to preach that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. We shall consider first the resurrection of the just; and secondly, the resurrection of the unjust.

read the whole thing here





Schaeffer: Defending the faith for your children’s sake

20 12 2011

The following is an excerpt from Frances Schaeffer’s The God Who is There, found in Vol. I of his complete works.  In the first paragraph, I feel a particular heartache that resonants with many parents in our congregation.  I hope Schaeffer’s words give you some instruction, but also I hope prompts some new questions.  For me the value in Schaeffer’s words are that the Gospel must be communicated to your children in such a way as makes sense in their current cultural framework.  This means parents must learn their children in the same way a missionary must learn the culture he has been sent to and for the same purpose. We will be visiting issues such as this with greater frequency over the coming months…

I find that everywhere I go– both in the United States and in other countries– children of Christians are being lost to historic Christianity.  This is happening not only in small groups in small geographical areas, but everyhwere.  They are being lost because their parents are unable to understand their children, and therefore cannot really help them in their time of need.  This lack of understanding is not only on the part of individual parents, bu toften also of churches, Christian colleges and Christian missions.  Some Christian colleges (and I am not talking of ‘liberal’ colleges) lose many of the best students before they graduate.  We have left the next generation naked in the twentieth century thought by which they are surrounded.

So then, the defense for myself and for those for whom I am responsible, must be a conscious defense.  We cannot assume that because we are Christians in the full biblical sense, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, automatically we shall be free from the influence of what surrouns us.  The Holy Spirit can do what He will, but the Bible does not separate His work from knowledge; nor does the work of the Holy Spirit remove our responsibility as parents, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, or teachers.

Having said that, however, Christian apologetics should never be restircted to guarding against attack.  We have a responsibility to communicate the gospel to our generation.

Christian apologetics is not like living in a castle with the drawbridge up and occasionally tossing a stone over the walls.  It is not to be based on a citadel mentality– sitting inside and saying “You cannot reach me in here.”  If the Christian adopts this attitude, either in theory or in practice, his contacts with those who have accepted twentieth-centrury thought will stop.  Apologetics should not be merely an academic subject, a new kind of scholasticism.  It should be thought out and practiced in the rough and tumble of living contact with the present generation.  Thus, the Christian should not be interested in presenting a nicely balanced system on its own, like some Greek metaphysical systme, but rather in something which has constant contact with reality– the reality of the questions being asked by his own and the next generation.

No one can become a Christian unless he understands what Christianity is saying.  Many pastors, missionaries, and Christian teachers seem to be helpless as they try to speak to the educated people and the mass of people about them.  The do not seem to face the fact that it is our task to speak to our generation; the past has gone, the future is not yet here.  So the positive side of apologetics is the communication of the gospel to the present generations in terms they can understand.

From The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, Vol I pg pg 152-153





Horatious Bonar: The Love of God and the Law of God

20 12 2011

Favor to the sinner must also be favor to the law. Favor to the sinner which would simply establish law, or leave its sanctities untouched, would be much; but favor to him which would deepen its foundations, and render it more venerable, more awful than before, is unspeakably higher and surer. Even so has it been. Law has not suffered at the hands of love, nor love been cramped and frozen by law. Both have had full scope, fuller scope than if man had never fallen.

I know that love is not law, and that law is not love. In law, properly, no love inheres. It is like the balance which knows not whether it be gold or iron that is laid upon it. Yet in that combination of the judicial and the paternal, which God’s way of salvation exhibits, law has become the source and vehicle of love, and love law’s upholder and honourer; so that even in this sense and aspect “love is the fulfilling of the law.”(2)

The law that was against the sinner has come to be upon the sinner’s side. It is now ready to take his part in the great controversy between him and God, provided he will conduct his case on the new principles which God has introduced for the settlement of all variances between Himself and the sinner; or rather, provided he will put that case into the hands of the divine Advocate, who alone knows how to conduct it aright, and to bring it to a successful issue, who is both “propitiation” and ”Advocate,” the “propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2), “the Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness, (Banner of Truth Trust: pg 12-13)





Charles Spurgeon: What is it to believe the Gospel?

20 12 2011

The final paragraph of Spurgeon’s excellent sermon “The Curse Removed.” Read the whole thing here.

To believe is to fall flat down upon the promise, and there to lie. To believe is as a man would do in a stream. It is said, that if we were to fold our arms, and lie motionless, we could not sink. To believe is to float upon the stream of grace. I grant you, you shall do afterward; but you must live before you can do. The gospel is the reverse of the law. The law says, “Do and live;” the gospel says, “Live first, then do.” The way to do, poor sinner, is to say, “Here, Jesus, here I am; I give myself to thee.” I never had a better idea of believing than I once had from a poor countryman. I may have mentioned this before; but it struck me very forcibly at the time, and I can not help repeating it. Speaking about faith he said, “The old enemy has been troubling me very much lately; but I told him that he must not say any thing to me about my sins, he must go to my Master, for I had transferred the whole concern to him, bad debts and all.” That is believing. Believing is giving up all we have to Christ, and taking all Christ has to ourselves. It is changing houses with Christ, changing clothes with Christ, changing our unrighteousness for his righteousness, changing our sins for his merits. Execute the transfer, sinner; rather, may God’s grace execute it, and give thee faith in it; and then the law will be no longer thy condemnation, but it shall acquit thee. May Christ add his blessing! May the Holy Spirit rest upon us! And may we meet at last in heaven! Then will we “sing to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.